The year was 1989. Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ronnie DeVoe were best known as the Tito, Jackie and Marlon of teen idols New Edition (lead singers Ralph Tresvant and Johnny Gill were Michael and Jermaine, respectively). The tour in support of N.E.’s multi-platinum 1988 album had just ended, and Gill and Tresvant had made the decision to concentrate on solo albums. As legend has it, the other three group members were trying to figure out what to do with their idle time when legendary production team Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis suggested that they record an album. Dumbfounded that they hadn’t thought of that themselves, Bell Biv DeVoe was born, and wound up selling more records than Tresvant and Gill’s subsequent solo efforts - combined.
At any rate, the evolution of hip-hop soul had a lot to do with BBD’s success, in more ways than one. It’s hard to imagine acts like Mary J. Blige and Jodeci existing without Bell Biv DeVoe’s success. Hell, TLC was created as a female answer to BBD. By himself, Michael Bivins also pretty much created the artist/mogul template that most current R&B/hip-hop big willies aspire to these days, discovering and grooming acts like Another Bad Creation and Boyz II . It’s hard to imagine there being a Jermaine Dupri or a Puff Daddy without there being a Michael Bivins. The influence that Bell Biv DeVoe had on the contemporary scene in their brief time can't be underestimated.
That, and the title track is still memorable and relevant today.